US Army Has a New Small but Powerful Laser

US Army Has a New Small but Powerful Laser

image provided by pixabay

This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

The US government has reportedly acquired a new miniaturized high-energy laser called the “Phantom”. It weighs 91 kg, is roughly the size of a small fridge, and can be lifted and operated by as few as two people.

According to Interesting Engineering, the military has been interested in laser technology due to its ability to engage targets at the speed of light for a fraction of the cost of projectile weapons, but when developing military laser technology, a small portable, and durable frame is just as crucial as the power and aim.

The deployment of lasers in practical combat situations by the U.S. military has encountered challenges such as size, power requirements, and expensive costs since their earliest use during the Vietnam War.

A report by The Debrief states that the Pentagon spends nearly $1 billion a year to develop directed energy weapons that provide advanced defense against UAVs, projectiles, and other threats. Nevertheless, they had trouble getting these technologies out of the lab.

According to the report, to help the military with directed energy weapon implementation, Northrop Grumman has developed high-energy lasers for the US armed forces, including the Strategic Illuminator Laser (SILL) and the 300kW High Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS) designed to counter fast-moving threats like UAVs. The new “Phantom” is aimed to be a practical and accessible addition to the U.S. arsenal for its compact size.

Robert Fleming, vice president and general manager of strategic space systems at Northrop Grumman explains: “By miniaturizing this advanced capability, we are expanding the reach of our technology and continuing to lead the way in high-energy lasers. Northrop Grumman is using its expertise in directed energy to deliver an extremely compact, lightweight, and efficient laser for the warfighter.”